What makes 2016 different from 2006?

This was my newsletter for aug 12 2016, subscribe if you like it. I send one every week. No spam, just me.

The Internet revolution has brought significant changes for businesses, governments, media and civil society organizations.

So let’s look at how the world is different in 2016 versus 2006 with a technology focus.

The iPhone and Android changed the world for sure. It’s difficult to imagine our lives without a smartphone. I’m running my business mostly from my iPhone. We don’t know how to live offline anymore. Every business has to have a great mobile presence or it cannot do business. Tomorrow those same businesses will have to answer instantly on messaging platforms, likely Facebook messenger. Search moved from desktop to almost entirely mobile. All apps and services use location.

Social networking
Ten years ago anyone could publish information online, but not many did. They were called bloggers, now it’s anyone on Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Facebook has become our address book and it’s become really difficult to not be on it. I have one friend left who isn’t on Facebook. News spreads more through social networks than traditional media, even if they are still at the source of most news. Who could imagine in 2006 Facebook would become a company worth $350 billion? Social networking habits change fast and Snapchat is now challenging Facebook engaging the younger side of the population.

Transportation and lodging
Many people I know sold their car as it’s more convenient and cheaper to user Uber or Lyft than own a car. Uber has delivered two billion rides as I write this and is worth more than 70 billion dollars. One of the most traditional business in the world, the taxi industry, has been disrupted worldwide. There is nothing that can stop Uber, not even government regulations, as that’s the type of service and pricing people want.

Tesla surprised everyone with full electric cars with great performance and range. Telsa is now the most desired brand and enjoys a huge market share in the high end luxury car segment competing with BMW, Audi or Mercedes. All car manufacturers are late and are racing to compete with Tesla’s next move: a mainstream lower cost electric car. The first autopilot cars are on the streets. Entirely self driving cars seem to be more and more a reality with Google’s efforts.

Google Maps and Waze have changed the way we drive, remember how we were doing it 10 years ago? Traveling is much easier now. Tokyo used to be impenetrable now with Google Maps, Translate and Trip Advisor it’s really easy to spend a week in Japan without anyone’s help.

The airline industry hasn’t changed much in ten years, the planes are just burning a little less fuel. What really changed is that most flights are now low cost. 10 years ago pioneers such as Jet Blue, RyanAir, EasyJet, SouthWest were challenging traditional airlines. Today all airlines became low cost, except on long flights.

Airbnb did not exist 10 years ago and it’s now worth 25 billion dollars. It is the #1 challenger to the hotel industry and owns no hotels, as Uber owns no cars.

People are more aware of the need to be healthy. They exercise more. Smoking was much more widespread 10 years ago. Today smoking is not only understood as a health disaster, it is out of fashion. Eating healthy products is much more important. Being vegetarian or vegan isn’t weird anymore.

The more everyone is connected and online the more the need for disconnecting emerges. Mindfulness and meditation are becoming a phenomenon everywhere. The need to care about your mind is becoming as important as caring about your body.

I have been impressed on how cheap DNA testing and analysis has become. I am shocked and sad that in the last 10 years we did not manage to find definitive treatments for AIDs and cancer.

Ecommerce was already big 10 years ago but Amazon became huge. On Amazon and other services are reviews about every product and service providing an unprecedented transparency for the customers. With Amazon prime or Instacart buying has become frictionless.

Last minute
We are all learning to stop planning and do everything last minute. We order a car with Uber and get it instantly. We go to Barcelona without a reservation and find a great hotel at a discount with Hotel Tonight. We book a restaurant in minutes with Reserve, with a concierge helping us to find the best choice. We even date last minute with Tinder.

The end of voice and the raise of messaging
Ten years ago our mobile phone was ringing all the time. Today we mostly use Facebook messenger to talk to friends and family. Business communication on Messenger is also growing fast. People use voice less and less, unless it’s a scheduled call. Facebook Messenger is bigger than Skype. Soon all businesses will have to be easily reachable on Messenger.

Billion dollar “unicorns” disrupted established businesses
We already covered Uber and Facebook, both non existent 10 years ago and valued at 70 and 350 billion dollars. Many billion dollar companies have been created only in a few years. Dollarshave sold for a billion dollar less than 5 years after it was created. There were very few young companies valued more than a billion dollar ten years ago. In 2016 Fortune counted 174 unicorns.

Military unmanned drones have been commonly used for awhile. Personal drones have become so popular that the FAA had to request each new owner to declare them A license could become compulsory soon. Drone applications are getting more creative and useful, like live ocean data collection (saildrone).

Space X successfully operates self landing and reusable rockets. The discovery of gravitational waves and water on Mars might be opening new chapters in space research.

For the millennials, it makes no sense to be in front of the TV at a certain time. It was still common 10 years ago. Movies (Netflix) Music (Spotify, etc.) Gaming (Twitch, Sony, XBox) all moved online and content is streaming. Searching for videos on Youtube is common way to learn and spend time for many instead of watching TV. “Traditional media” TV, Radio, Newspapers are much less influential and powerful than they used to be. “E-sports” are huge as millions of people are now playing on Twitch and professional sports clubs are launching their esport teams. Books have become all mostly ebooks.

Personal brands
Everyone is a brand manager. It is very easy to advertise your own work if you’re an artist, designer, developer… It also costs nothing. Many people have built a business around their own brand, such as Tim Ferris or Gary Vaynerchuk.

Crowdsourcing and crowdfunding (Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon) for projects, products or even people. Artists such as Amanda Palmer finance their creations mostly from dedicated patrons who pre-pay anything she creates on Patreon. It has never been as easy as today to fund ideas.

Remote work is huge compare to ten years ago. There are more and more freelancers on the market. Online collaboration is huge, for example for software https://github.com/ lets developers worldwide share their work and learn together. Really easy to learn any job and find one online.

Education and learning
Two billion people can teach or learn online almost anything anytime anywhere. Lifelong learning for fun and joy with or without certification or degrees is available at any age and stage of life, anywhere. Learning to code has become one of the most important skills. English is the tcp/ip of the world.

Poverty has decreased dramatically in ten years with easier access to education and jobs. Organizations such as Samasource create thousands of jobs in the poorest regions. Even in the slums young people can learn to use computers and get a job online. It changes their lives.

What did not happen

The sharing economy. Many startups failed or stayed small. Airbnb is really privately renting your place, not sharing. Peer to peer lending did not take off as expected. There are exceptions like Blablacar.

Google Glass. Ultimately augmented reality will become mainstream. Google Glass was too intrusive and clunky. It felt like the Apple Newton, eventually re-launched right as the iPhone. I would bet something like Google Glass will be successful in the next ten years.

Internet of things and wearables. The buzz around the Internet of things and wearable devices has been so huge I was expecting a much wider adoption. Most wearable devices acquired are quickly abandoned by their users. Connected objects are still pretty rare, some exceptions such as the Ring connected door bell have been very successful. The connected motorbike helmets startup Skully Helmets just went bankrupt.

3D Printing
It’s mostly a b2b manufacturing thing, not mainstream. It was announced as a consumer phenomenon letting us think that everyone would buy a 3D printer at home. It did not happen.

The “silicon valley of…..” — add your city here.
Silicon Valley is still and remains the most innovative place in the world. It’s not by chance that Facebook, Uber, Airbnb are all based between Palo Alto and San Francisco.

The trends for the next ten years
Predictions are always difficult to make but the recent launch of Pokemon GO shows the potential of augmented reality which I would bet will be mainstream. VR is another huge trend and the acquisition of Oculus by Facebook for example, validates how big it can become. Artificial intelligence and bots are also incredibly hot spaces in Silicon Valley these days. I’m watching Blockchain without being totally convinced for now. Health should be one of the most innovative spaces. The recent progress in human reproduction allowing lower cost egg freezing for example is very exciting and might make it mainstream. Facebook already finances egg freezing for their female workers. Difficult to list all the domains I am excited about as there are many, but another huge trend to watch is social impact in business.

This was my newsletter for aug 12 2016, subscribe if you like it. I send one every week. No spam, just me.

Thank you everyone who contributed to ideas for this on my social networks:
Ali Parman
Célia Ghrt
Arnaud Seekence
Gérard Perche
Ludovic Rambert
Yamine Haddar
Iain Buchanan
Vlad Ciurca
Akshay Dodeja
Laura Medianu
Gonzague Watine
Frederic Bourratiere
Ludovic Rambert
Vincent Tellier
Janet Lara
John Whateveron
Sean Kelly
Omer Perchik
Freida Wolden
Paula Martin Donadio Witaschek
Jean-Jacques Borie
Edouard Theron
Julie Candelon
Anne Dionisi-Fung
Delphine Bedel
Julie Candelon
Christophe Labédan
Christian Aubry
Hassen Dal

Entrepreneur, pilot, kite-surfer and paraglider. Subscribe to my new newsletter http://loiclemeur.substack.com

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